Breaking New Ground: AAEP Convention 2001

So much to learn, so little time. That seemed to be the general feeling at the 2001 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) convention. While some veterinarians likened it to a smorgasbord of educational goodies, others said there was too much to choose from with too little time for one-on-one, unstructured conversations with colleagues. But everyone agreed that it was good to have an abundance of presentations in which they were interested, and that were useful to their day-to-day practices.

Jerry Black, DVM, president of Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale, Calif., as last year's AAEP president-elect, was responsible for putting together the 2001 scientific program. The program was supplemented by two days of hands-on wet labs at a nearby clinic and a local fairground. There was one morning when early risers could take advantage of breakfast and topical conversations at Sunrise Sessions, and two days of lunchtime table topics. With the variety of topics offered and the less formal atmosphere, these venues were big hits and often were crowded to overflowing. Moderators who were experts in the various areas of discussion led stimulating conversations among the practitioners in attendance.

While it was feared that the terrorist attacks on the United States and subsequent world affairs would keep some veterinarians from traveling to San Diego, Calif., the number of attendees was only slightly below last year's numbers. The 2002 AAEP Convention will be held in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 4-8.

Awards and Honors

During the President's Luncheon, Pete Haynes, DVM, of Louisiana State University, was given the Distinguished Life Member Award. A former president of the AAEP, Haynes is Executive Associate Dean at the LSU veterinary school and is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of The Horse.

"I truly feel I received more than I gave," said Haynes. "Our organization is well ahead of other organizations in leadership training."

Two men received the Distinguished Educator Award--Robert H. Baker, DVM, of California and Melbourne B. Tiegland, DVM, of Florida. Both were honored for giving of themselves to young veterinarians and influencing the industry with their work.

 The Distinguished Service Award was given for the second time in 2001, honoring someone who exemplified service to the AAEP or other horse industry organizations. The recipient was Nat Messer IV, DVM, who has served on AAEP's equine welfare committee. There he was involved with inspecting and developing guidelines for pregnant mare urine ranches, horse protection and welfare, and working on legislation for horses destined for slaughter.

A Distinguished Service Award was given to David Foley, AAEP's executive director, for his role in establishing the annual convention as the premier continuing education site for equine veterinarians. He also was the key person behind the development of the AAEP Encore, Practice Management, and Resort Symposiums.


The 2002 Executive Committee of the AAEP is comprised of Black, president; Tom Lenz, DVM, of Bayer Animal Health, president-elect; Larry Bramlage, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, vice president; and Harry Werner, DVM, treasurer.

Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, FRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, Dipl. ECVS, immediate past president of AAEP, said upon welcoming Black to the organization's highest office: "This is the greatest honor you will receive in your professional career--to be elected as a leader by your peers."

Black credits his success to a foundation of three significant forces--his background, his love of horses, and the opportunities for growth he has found in the AAEP. "I come from a rural Christian upbringing where there was a devotion to the land and to God's creatures, to family values, and to honesty," said Black. "I believe there are natural-born leaders, then there are others like me who owe our skills to nurturing rather than nature."

Black said the AAEP has the opportunity to reach far beyond veterinary medicine "if we take the chance. We must protect horse health and welfare. The veterinarian should be the voice of authority in horse health and in the integrity of equine sports."

He mentioned the racehorse medication summit as one way in which the AAEP and veterinarians can positively influence the health of horses and the way an industry addresses the physical needs of the animal.

"Now is the time to solve this issue," said Black. "We have different views, but much common ground. The summit is a good first step." (For more information on the medication summit, see article Quick Find #3208, 3209, and 3210 at

He sees the AAEP growing in its position as the world's largest professional organization for equine veterinary medicine and continuing education, and as the protectors of the health and welfare of the horse. He said the AAEP wants to "complement" practitioners' roles with clients, saying, "An educated client is a good client." h

Convention reporting by Stephanie L. Church; Roberta Dwyer, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVPM; Ray Geor, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM; Kimberly S. Graetz; Sarah E. Hogwood; Les Sellnow; and Christy West.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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